'Pop Tax' could improve public health

Shadow Health Minister, Elin Jones AM, says Wales could lead the way on public health through the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks.

The Ceredigion AM said this use of new fiscal powers could be a powerful tool in the fight against growing obesity levels.

The Party of Wales has published a paper exploring the introduction of a sugary drinks levy in Wales, setting out how Wales can adopt the tax with fiscal powers it is set to receive through the Wales Bill.

The paper finds that the so-called ‘Pop Tax’ has the potential to make a positive impact on public health in Wales, as well as raising additional revenue that could be used to help recruit a thousand extra doctors to the Welsh NHS.

Elin Jones said: “Increasing consumption of sugar is currently one of the biggest problems we face in terms of public health. Evidence shows that most children and adults consume more than they should, while rates of childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes have soared.

“In Wales, we have some of the highest rates of over-consumption of sugar and obesity, so we need to be at the cutting edge of tackling these issues.

“That’s why Plaid Cymru has proposed this innovative policy to influence public behaviour, whilst strengthening our health service.

“Of course, all of us as individuals have a role in controlling our own diets and habits, but the state also has a role in regulating and dis-incentivising the commercial drive to increase public consumption of sugar.

“Plaid’s Pop Tax could reduce consumption of empty-calorie sugary drinks, whilst also generating important funds that could be invested to ensure that our health service is dynamic enough and well-enough resourced to deal with the problems it faces.”

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